Gears 5 Horde Mode hands-on preview at ID@Xbox PAX West 2019

Shacknews got our hands on Gears 5 Horde Mode at the ID@Xbox PAX West 2019 showcase. Our preview.


The Gears of War franchise popularized Horde Mode, and ushered in an era of wave-based shooters. The Coalition had not shown off Horde at E3 2019, so our team was super excited to get our hands on the mode at the ID@Xbox PAX West 2019 showcase. Does Gears 5 add enough to make this version of Horde Mode stand out as the ultimate iteration? 

Just like you like it

The trappings of Gears Horde Mode are still very present in Gears 5. The Fabricator makes its return, with players able to also buy perks with energy. The weapons in the game are very similar to Gears of War 4, but the ammo economy seems to be a little more stingy in Horde Mode. I found myself running out of lancer ammo frequently, and the demo was set to Beginner difficulty. I wasn’t wasting ammo, either. The enemies are just spongy as heck at times. Horde Mode in Gears 5 definitely introduces some new features while trying to stay true to the franchise.

Heavier artillery

via Gfycat

Gears 5 adds some new weapons to the arsenal. The one that really stood out to me was the Cryo Cannon which lets players freeze enemies to bits. Other fan-favorite weapons like the Boomshot, Mulcher, and Salvo make returns to the game. Tons of sweet explosions await players when they drop into Horde Mode next month.

Horde Mode in Gears 5 will offer players to upgrade their own stats with Energy they collect during the round. This is in addition to using the Fabricator to build barriers and decoys. Some off the buffs players can upgrade with Energy include improved health stats and more powerful weapon damage. There is also a perk that increases the chances of ammo drops from enemies.

Unsettling changes

Marcus Fenix is back in Gears 5.
Marcus Fenix is back in Gears 5.

Gears 5 adds Ultimate powers for each character in Horde Mode. I chose Marcus, and his Ultimate was a short period where every shot you fire is a headshot. The Ultimates don’t really change the way Horde Mode is played as much as one might think, and I honestly had to remind myself to trigger it. While this isn’t the best addition, it doesn’t break the fun of Horde Mode.

Gears 5 makes some really weird and unnecessary changes to the button layout. The default button layout from the Gears of War series had the Lancer’s chainsaw ability mapped to the B button, but the Gears 5 demo at ID@Xbox had it mapped to the right shoulder button. This wasn’t all, as the button to execute downed enemies has shifted over to a B button hold from a Y button press. It took a few rounds to get used to the changes, but hopefully the game will offer some button mapping options when it launches in September.

Gears 5 releases on September 10, 2019. Keep it locked on Shacknews leading up to our review of the game.


Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
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    August 30, 2019 10:00 AM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Gears 5 Horde Mode hands-on preview at ID@Xbox PAX West 2019

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      August 30, 2019 11:17 AM

      Here's a funny anecdote- There's been an issue with Gears of War 4 on the PC for, i think, nearly 2 years, where the game would lock up after a minute or two if you have an nvidia 10xx card. It's a known issue, pretty wide-spread, and people on the Gears of War subreddit talk about different fixes a lot. Some folks claimed turning off Tiled Resources, Nvidia overlays, and a few other things would help, but nothing really worked. This was happening on both my machine and a friend's machine, so we just sort of gave up and forgot all about it. However, a few days ago Nvidia released a driver update that had some "fix" for GoW 4 and i managed to finish it yesterday. It was just okay.

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